The 2021 angling year on Henrys Lake has been just what we thought. Intimidating.
After almost 20 years of watching the lake and trying to predict the fishing, we find what many already knew. Henrys can spank the best.
Certainly, the drop in fish numbers is indicative of a drop in last year’s historically high catch rates. From 14.9 trout per net in 2020 to a healthy 10.6 in 2021, it is relatively safe to predict that we should see a drop off in the average angler’s fish to the boat. But many still thought we would see an excellent catch rate none the less.
However, you cannot fool mother nature. Nor can you select the fly to counter her impact. Obscenely low summer inflow is followed by temperatures more suited for smallmouth bass. The relentless high pressure is overbearing. Henrys is slapping many in the face.
So, what do you do? You fish early and fish hard. You slow your retrieve in most instances. You find the scattered pockets of fish where they are. You mitigate your tough days with days when you find fish that want to play, and you make the most of it. You enjoy the challenge.
My selection of intermediates is growing. As are my deep-water lines. If you are a one brand loyalist, you may be loyal to inconsistency. Switching your fly selection without switching other tactics may be akin to getting beat up by the school bully, changing your shoes and expecting to win next time. I have always preached that Henrys is technical. Some folks claim different. I respectively disagree.
I am always somewhat amused by the consistency in the fishing reports at Henrys. “Fish the Creek Mouths”. Okay, that in simple terms is broadly reliable. But savvy anglers know that the Henrys tributaries are as diverse as the three types of gamefish that inhabit the lake. Tributary flow varies and diversions “capture’ flow at select times throughout the summer. Longtime anglers watch different tributaries at different times of the year. Flows can drive the fishery. But knowing tributary timing can pay dividends. A multitude of other factors weigh in.
Do not always follow the crowds. Although secrets are short lived, it is rewarding to find fish away from the masses. Enjoy the hunt. Big numbers are rarer, but they are happening.
Henrys changes dramatically from year to year. This is a year of change. As it will be next year and those after.
Henrys Lake Foundation